By ALIEU JALLOW
Dr. Nfamara K. Dampha a Gambian- US base environmental expert who works for the World Bank technical team as a consultant said the Gambia needs a sustainable and integrated waste management policy at the highest level of authority to address the country’s waste crisis.
Over the years, the issue of waste generation and management have been a major concern streaming a number of town and settlements in the Gambia especially, Kanifing Municipality.
“The hitches of waste generation and management in most cities especially in developing countries have become one of the intractable environmental problems. Indiscriminate dumping continues to be a public nuisance within Kanifing Municipality. The situation could be attributed to the low level of technology to handle the high rate of waste generation and as well lack of public awareness on waste management by inhabitants,” said Dr. Dampha.
He added that an average 0.44kg of waste is generated by each person daily, going by this estimate 142 metric tons are generated daily in Kanifing Municipality.
The council does not have the resources or capacity to effectively handle the high amount of waste generated thus a call for a need for a sustainable and integrated waste policy.
Speaking to Dampha, the government need to have a sustainable and an integrated waste management policy and strategy.
“The government has to bring waste management at the forefront of its political agenda. The government and politicians should give a lot of priority to sustainable waste management because of course; we know waste is a societal problem. It’s a developmental challenge, a by-product of industrialization. No society can grow without generating waste.”
Dilating on the political will in prioritizing and handling these crises, Dr. Dampha said: “There will be an absolute need for investment. So one is investment and investment and investment, invest in waste management infrastructure, and also allow the private sector to take this as an opportunity to invest. And of course, invest in the civil society or at least support civil society organizations of course, which include the communities to also participate in waste management”.
“The waste sector alone contributes to about 3% of greenhouse gases that are emitted at the global level. In the Gambia, this sector would be one of the leading causes of emissions of greenhouse gases, expounding on the impact of greenhouse gases on the Gambia as a nation,” Dr. Dampha says;
He noted that in the Gambia, the situation we find ourselves will be super interesting because without proper waste management, what will happen, the amount of waste that we generate as a society will continue to increase and perhaps this will double by 2050 given that our population as a country will also double by 2050.
He stated that population density in the country will also double meaning there’ll be more economic activities and the more industrialization without the right policies and the right strategies, right actions taken by all the stakeholders, there’ll be more waste being generated.
“And this affects not just the environment, our immediate environment and our health and our economic wellbeing, but also the environmental sustainability of our society and the globe at large”, he observed.